Berkshire Hathaway Q1 Earnings Rise on Insurance Rebound

FOREXN1 Updated   
NYSE:BRK.B   Berkshire Hathaway Inc. New
Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway reported strong earnings growth in the first quarter of the year, primarily driven by the recovery of the conglomerate's insurance business. Operating earnings, which include profits from Berkshire's wholly-owned businesses, increased by 12.6% year-over-year to $8.065 billion. Insurance underwriting profit surged to $911 million, a sharp increase from $167 million a year ago, while insurance investment income also rose by 68% to $1.969 billion from $1.170 billion. The turnaround in Geico, which saw an underwriting profit of $703 million, was a significant contributor to the overall insurance business success.

On the other hand, the company's railroad business BNSF and energy company posted year-over-year earnings declines. However, other controlled businesses and non-controlled businesses saw slight increases from the same period last year. Berkshire's cash reserves also increased to $130.616 billion from $128 billion in Q4 2022. Additionally, the company repurchased $4.4 billion worth of its own stock, the most since Q1 2021, up from $2.8 billion at the end of last year.

Berkshire's net earnings, which include short-term investment gains, rose to $35.5 billion in Q1 2023, up from $5.6 billion in the same period last year, reflecting a first-quarter comeback in Warren Buffett's equity investments such as Apple. Nonetheless, Buffett cautioned investors not to pay too much attention to quarterly fluctuations in unrealized gains on investments. These results were released ahead of Berkshire's highly anticipated annual shareholders meeting, known as "Woodstock for Capitalists."

Despite lagging behind the S&P 500's 7.7% advance with a 4.9% increase in its Class A shares this year, Berkshire's stock is still less than 3% below its all-time high.
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